Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has introduced a radical measure that would dismantle Americans’ property rights.
If enacted, the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act would come dangerously close to the socialist dream of stripping people of the right to control their property and would allow for another massive government expansion.
This bill, introduced April 17, would cancel all rent and mortgage payments, regardless of income or employment, for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The bill would constitute a full payment forgiveness, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit rating or rental history,” a news release from Omar’s office says.
Furthermore, a fund would be created “to fully finance the purchase of private rental properties by non-profits, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts, and states or local governments — in order to increase the availability of affordable housing during this downturn,” the news release says.
This means private property owners would be undermined and the power of government entities would be greatly increased.
Landlords and mortgage companies could apply for lost income to a relief fund that would be established for this purpose. Only primary residences would qualify, not investment properties or vacation homes.
It is no surprise that Omar’s fellow radical House “squad” members — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — co-sponsored the bill, along with three other progressive Democrats.
The “squad” is determined to take maximum advantage of the suffering caused by the pandemic in order to create a large, socialist bureaucracy.
If this kind of bureaucracy were enabled, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to tear down, even when the pandemic ends.
If Omar and the progressives cared to solve the immediate problems we face, they would push for homeowners and renters to be allowed to go back to work so they can make their rent and mortgage payments without government assistance. If citizens are working, they do not need help from self-important lawmakers.
Reopening the economy is a speedier and more complete cure to the emerging housing problems sparked by mandated economic lockdowns to fight the pandemic.
Instead, this bill would punch a hole in the Constitution.
Landlords would not be allowed to take any adverse action against renters; if they did, they could be subject to fines, and ultimately they could lose their property. The federal government would have expanded powers to outright seize private property if the landlord did not follow these draconian rules.
Landlords would be forced to permit tenants to live rent-free, and if they applied for relief funds, their property would become compromised.
For five years, landlords who receive funds could not raise the rent or discriminate against tenants based on their credit scores or criminal histories.
Most galling and alarming of all: In order to receive relief funds, landlords would be forced to give their tenants a 10 percent equity stake in their property.
This means, in essence, that the bill would allow tenants to be akin to co-owners; tenants would be granted powers and a profit stake over property that did not belong to them.
The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act would be a stake driven right into the heart of the engine of American capitalism: property rights.
Landlords would no longer benefit from the fruit of their labor. Instead, the fruit of their labor would be managed by the government and redistributed to their tenants.
This is a brazen attempt to use the coronavirus crisis to transfer wealth from landlords to their tenants. In order to do this, basic American constitutional rights would be trampled and massive power would be given to unelected bureaucrats.
This bill would transform the housing market, the economy and the very nature of our republic.
Yet, we have news for Omar and the rest of the “squad”: In this nation, fundamental rights cannot be removed from American citizens just because a few arrogant legislators despise capitalism and the American way of life.
This bill is not a solution to the unfolding housing crisis: It is a transparent socialist takeover of American liberties.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.